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  • 1 Post By VeritasImageryNW
  • 2 Post By Pavement Tested
  • 2 Post By coastrider
  • 2 Post By Sentinel
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Jun 10th 2019, 02:36 PM   #1
 Oregon Motorcycle's Avatar
  Mar 2019

L.E.D. Headlamps on Motorcycles.

A few weeks ago I fried my rectifier. Could of been because its old and these types of things happen, or because I was running my brights and fan for about 2 hours, or both. When I installed the new rectifier I decided to check the voltage drop with a load put on the system. I'll get a few points to drop with the brights on. I get a few more points to drop with the fan on. With both the fan and the brights the voltage continues to drop until it gets around 12.5 or so... Not good.

I can remember when I bought a new CBR back in 2001, I used to complain to the shop about the headlights all the time. I cant stand sport bikes with one head lamp on. It looks ridiculous. Anyway I had people telling me back then that the charging system wasn't designed to run two head lamps at all times.

On my R6, I always have both lights on, but now Im shutting off the brights when I run my fan.

Im thinking LED headlamps might solve this issue, but I have zero experience with them. The LED's Im seeing on amazon have these huge heat sinks on the back talking about better cooling and all that. If these lights are getting hot enough to require a HS, they are not saving energy. And then I see some rated at 20 or 30 watts ect. Not sure if I should buy a set or not.

Has anyone done any load test on LED headlamps and compared them to regular halogens?
Jun 10th 2019, 04:35 PM   #2
 VeritasImageryNW's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  Allyn, WA

  '06 HD Street Bob, '85 Yamaha FJ600, '99 Honda CBR600f4
I haven't done a load test, but have been running a Stark Phantom LED in my CBR600F4. The LEDs definitely consume less electricity. The difference is that the chipset creates heat which must be dissipated by either a fan or some sort of heat sink. This still uses less energy than burning a filament does.

A couple things, though, with LEDs. That fan/heat sink needs to be ventilated in order to draw cooler air. It cannot be fully enclosed inside the headlight housing or it will burn out. The other is that the cheaper LED headlights throw a horrible blob of a beam, which ends up providing less usable light and blinding oncoming vehicles. The more expensive ones (i.e. $120 pair and up) are now throwing really nice beams with clear cut-off points. The other problem with the inexpensive ones is that they last maybe a year (in a car) before they start dying. Had one in my wife's car start strobing real bad one day after about 11 months. Took those out and replaced them with an expensive set and I'm much happier.
Rusty Nail likes this.
Jun 10th 2019, 06:08 PM   #3
 Flyboymedic's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  Hazel Dell, Wa

  Honda VFR800, Husqvarna TE 610, Ducati Hypermotard 1100S, Suzuki VStrom 650, Yamaha Radian, MZ 125SM
I have these in my VFR800 and they're brighter than the stock halogen and have a nice cutoff. I bought direct from Evitek at the bottom.
Contact Cindy and ask for 1 or 2 of the type you need. They'll take about a month to get to the US, but much cheaper price if you can wait.
Jun 10th 2019, 08:35 PM   #4
 Pavement Tested's Avatar
  Jan 2016

  '08 GSX1300R, '06 GSX-R 750, '17 KTM 690 Duke
I haven't done any load testing on ay of my bikes but I've been running LEDs for a few years now starting with my 2012 Kawi C14. I put one on my 690 Duke a few months ago and just installed a set on my 2008 Busa. I've also installed a couple of sets for friends.

All of them have been made by Cyclops Adventure Sports. They are out of Kent. So far their customer service has been top notch thru email and on the phone. They even encourage stopping by their shop for fitment or addressing issues. They're definitely a bit more expensive than the stuff on Amazon and eBay but having experienced lights from those places and the extra cost is worth the additional quality and customer service.
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Jun 11th 2019, 05:30 AM   #5
 Ralgha's Avatar
  Jan 2016

  2012 Ninja 250
LEDs do use less electricity, but they are far more suspectable to heat damage because of the control circuitry, hence the heat sink. Halogen bulbs actually require very high temperature (450ish degrees) to work, so you don't see any heat sinks.

Not sure what kind of rectifier/regulator the R6 has, but many bikes use simple ones that essentially just run at max capacity the whole time. The regulator just dumps the excess into heat, so the more load you put on the system, the easier time the regulator actually has.

Edited by Ralgha on Jun 11th 2019 at 05:33 AM
Jun 12th 2019, 07:54 AM   #6
 coastrider's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  Oregon Coast

  2017 BMW R1200RT
You can reduce the load on your electrical system by moving from incandescent/halogen to LED or you can increase the light output for the same load. Where incandescent lights don't much mind heat (the wiring and socket might) as Ralgha mentioned heat is the enemy of LED lights.

One of the things that makes the high quality LED lights expensive is the attention given to heat dissipation . If you wrap your hand around one of those little 4 watt incandescent bulbs used in night lights you will find that it doesn't take many watts to hurt if the surface area is small.

Common 60 watt incandescent household bulbs produce around 14 lumens per watt and halogens about 24 lumens per watt while the LED replacements are around 84 lumens per watt.

If these lights are getting hot enough to require a HS, they are not saving energy
For the same light output as an incandescent light the LEDs are definitely saving energy. They might be trading the same energy for more light. The ClearwaterLights model "Krista" is 3000 lumens and 35 watts at full intensity. And they are really bright.

Any chance you can switch your headlights to LED with the same light output and then use some auxiliary LEDs if you want more light and a wider light profile for oncoming folks to see? If you went with something dimmable you could run with less draw during the day, get a larger light profile and have better illumination at night.
Jun 12th 2019, 05:09 PM   #7
 Sentinel's Avatar
  Jun 2016
  Poor Tortured

  2013 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 Harlequin
it's not just total lumens that matter. its how the photons (yeah right, those exist) are sprayed across the road, too. also color, imo, although everyone with those bright blue lights that think its cool to blind oncoming drivers/riders should get fleas. Just saying.
Jun 13th 2019, 03:11 AM   #8
 Oregon Motorcycle's Avatar
  Mar 2019

Thank you guys for all the great responses, I have a lot to look at. Ill post back when I get something going.
Jun 15th 2019, 02:57 PM   #9
 929rider98682's Avatar
  May 2019

  2001 CBR 929 RR
A good set of LEDs without that fan hanging on the back is the way to go. I use Putco Silver-Lux and there great.Pretty spendy but worth it

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